Heating vents in ceiling?

mvmartinJuly 28, 2010


WeÂre having a remodel done in Oakland, CA and trying to figure out where to put our heating vents on the 2nd floor (we don't have or need A/C).

Ideally, we would put them in the floor since heat rises, but due to the structural issues of the floor, this is somewhat difficult because of various beams we would have to cut through (it's possible, but difficult). So, the other choice is to run the ducting up to the attic in one location, and then distribute it through the ceiling (some rooms have lofted ceilings up to 11 feet tall).

The upstairs will be very well insulated since itÂs new (insulated walls, ceilings, and double-pane windows). Anyone have experience with ceiling vents in their home in this type of climate (it doesn't get super cold, maybe down to mid-40's at night a few nights a year)?

Does it make a big difference to have ceiling vents in terms of temperature, noise, or feeling the blowing air? Because if it does, we might push harder to have floor vents.

Also, can we get away with just one return vent in the hallway (it's 900 sq feet upstairs)?


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hello mvmartin,
im an hvac contractor in the chicago area, where it gets MUCH colder than 40f here.
there are PLENTY of homes and apartments that have systems directing the treated air from the ceiling. it is important that the registers are facing the outside walls if possible.
also, if its at all possible, DO put an individual return in each room if you can! that WILL make a big difference!
it (will) work with a central return, but will work better with individual returns.


Here is a link that might be useful: home page

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 1:08AM
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I am building a house in San Jose (2 story, 3800 sqr foot).
The builder put the vents on the floor on the 1st floor, and wants them in the ceiling on the 2nd floor. 2nd floor has its own furnace in the attic and 1st floor in the garage.

Is this okay? ANything special I should insist for ?
I am putting the Trane XV95 furnace.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 1:45AM
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In NoCA, your climate is so mild that I can't imagine it matters. I have (and most everyone here does) 2 stories with vents on the floor downstairs and ceiling upstairs.

I do find that the ceiling vents are a little noisier but as far as comfort, I don't really see an issue. It is not like there is significant temperature stratification from floor to ceiling. The heat rising is balanced by the fact that the floor is over conditioned space (and is thus warmer).

I have to think in NoCA with new construction and Title 24 insulation that the need to heat is so miniscule. If you have some sun. I mean we don't heat here when the low is 50 on new construction with some good sun.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 3:37AM
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We just built a new home with the vents in the ceiling. We did not want floor registers. The ceiling vents work fine.

We have ceiling fans throughout the house. During the heating season, we keep them on low blowing up. This keeps the air mixed nicely. We don't have any stratification issues at all.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:49PM
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we have a one story house our vents are on the ceiling and pipes are in the attic when we put our gas furnace on cold air comes out and temp. goes down then after a few minutes it starts going up and warm air comes out

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 11:28AM
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